- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 5, 2020

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced Wednesday that WiFi hotspots will be set up around the state to give students the option to take virtual classes when schools are scheduled to reopen in September.

The Republican governor said counties will submit reentry plans this month for the state’s planned school reopening on Sept. 8, adding that he wants to give students and parents “total optionality” whether to attend classes in person or online.

“We will absolutely deliver a quality education to them for the time period that they decide not to come to the school,” Justice said.

Justice said he has committed $6 million to install more than 1,000 Wifi hotspots at schools, libraries and state parks across the state so students can access online courses when schools restart.

The governor also said the state is developing a color-coded system for grading a county’s coronavirus levels “to be able to look at a facility and say ‘this county has this level of the metric and it is beyond what we think is acceptable for all students to be in school.’” Justice said the ability for schools to have sporting events will also hinge on the upcoming color-coded system.

Virus metrics have been on the rise in West Virginia, with hospitalizations, intensive care unit patients and ventilator use at some of the highest levels since the outbreak began. In total, around 7,100 people have tested positive and 124 people have died in West Virginia, according to state health records.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal. The vast majority of people recover.


Follow AP coverage of the pandemic at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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